(Taipei): A maintenance worker who caused his truck to slide in Taiwan’s worst rail disaster in decades apologized by crying Sunday in front of the cameras.
Authorities said Friday’s collision, which killed at least 51 people and injured more than 190, was caused by a construction machine after sliding off a bridge that hit a train carrying 500 passengers that was about to enter a tunnel.
Among the foreign dead, a French and an American, according to the authorities, the youngest victim was 4 years old.
Investigators believe the Taroko Express collided with a truck on railroad tracks moments before entering the tunnel.
The heavy truck driver, who railway authorities say may not have applied the handbrake properly, was released on bail after being questioned by judges, who barred him from leaving Taiwan pending further investigation.
But Taiwan media reported on Sunday that he had been returned to custody for fear of leaving the country, and had previously been convicted of fraud.
Lee Yi-hsiang read a statement on Sunday expressing his remorse with great affection to the media.
“I am sorry and I want to express my sincere apologies,” he said in a voice trembling with excitement.
“I will cooperate with the investigations conducted by the police and the prosecution to assume the responsibilities that fall on me,” he added.
Lee, 49, was part of a team that regularly inspects the railway line in eastern Taiwan, in a mountainous area that is prone to landslides and is vulnerable to other hazards.